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Full text of "Effect of success and failure experiences on the expectancy of success and performance"

THE EFFECT OF SUCCESS AND FAILURE EXPERIENCES 

ON THE EXPECTANCY OF SUCCESS AND PERFORMANCE OF 

EMOTIONALLY HANDICAPPED FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE BOYS 



By 
TOM 3ALL0WE 



A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF 

THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE 
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 
1973 



To my wife, Debbie, 
and my daughter, Jessie 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

I wish to express my gratitude to the many individuals who have 
cooperated and given support for this study; for without the cooperation 
of many principals and teachers in Alachua County this report would not 
have been possible. 

I am deeply indebted to my advisor and friend, Dr. Bob Algozzine, 
for his professional guidance and assistance throughout the doctoral 
program and for serving as chairman of my dissertation committee. His 
timely suggestions and comments were of unequalled importance to the 
completion of this study and to the depth of my total program. 

I am also very grateful for the help and advice of Drs. Rex Schmid, 
William Ware, Cecil Mercer, Gordon Greenwood, and Jim Whorton who served 
on my committee. 

I am also deeply grateful to my personal friend and classmate, 
Mike Marlowe, for collection of data for the study. Mike was also a 
source of continual encouragement throughout my entire academic program. 

A sincere appreciation is expressed to the personal friends, staff 
members, and family who supported and assisted whenever needed. 

Finally, I wish to express a special note of appreciation to my 
loving and thoughtful wife, Deobie. She has been the most important 
figure behind any endeavor of mine since we were married, and without 
^er this study would never have begun. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii 

LIST OF TABLES vi 

ABSTRACT vi i 

CHAPTER ! INTRODUCTION ..... 1 

Statement of the Problem 2 

Questions Under Investigation . 3 

Rationale 3 

Definition of Terms 4 

Hypotheses 5 

Delimitations ... 5 

Limitations 6 

CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE . . . 8 

Emotionally Handicapped 8 

Expectancy , 11 

CHAPTER III METHODS AND PROCEDURES 24 

Subjects 24 

Instrumentation 26 

Procedures 28 

Analysis and Design 29 

CHAPTER IV RESULTS, DISCUSSION, AND LIMITATIONS . . 32 

Correlation Results ....... 33 

Results of T-Tests 33 

Discussion ............. 36 

CHAPTER V SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS , 39 

Purpose ............... 43 

Procedures ..... 43 

Conclusions ^^ , 

A D PEivDIX A 50 

APPENDIX 3 . . . . . 52 



i v 



Page 
APPENDIX C 53 

APPENDIX D 54 

APPENDIX E 56 

REFERENCES 57 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 61 



LIST OF TABLES 
Table Pag e 

1 Demographic Data for Subjects ^5 

2 Design for T-Test Comparison of Expectancy Means 

Across Success and Failure Conditions 30 



Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations for 
Expectancy and Performance Scores of Success 
arid Failure Groups 



VI 



Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council 

of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements 

for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy 



THE EFFECT OF SUCCESS AND FAILURE EXPERIENCES 

ON THE EXPECTANCY OF SUCCESS AND PERFORMANCE OF 

EMOTIONALLY HANDICAPPED FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE BOYS 

By 
Tom Ball owe 

August 1978 

Chairman: Bob Algozzine, Ph.D. 
Major Department: Special Education 

In recent years, a considerable number of research studies have 
investigated the effects of success and failure on the expectancy 
levels of the EMR child. These studies have yielded results which 
have led to effective teaching strategies for the mildly retarded. 
While research has shown that retarded children's expectancies and 
performances are differentially affected by success and failure exper- 
iences, no suc.n systematic efforts have been devoted to this pheonmenon 
within an EH croup of children. The study was designed to investigate 
the extent to which EH children's expectancies and performances could 
be altered by success or failure induced experiences. 

Forty-eight fourth and fifth grade EH boys were randomly assigned 
to either a success or failure condition during five trials of a guessing 
task. Immediately following the initial task, all children were asked 
to estimate their expectancy of success on a novel learning task. 

For this second activity, all children received a progressive 
matrix worksheet with ten problems which required adding and/or sub- 
tracting solutions. The worksheet was pretested with 95 fourth and 

vii 



fifth graders with a median score of six. It was hypothesized that 
those children who were in the success condition would have higher 
expectancies and actual performance scores than the children in the 
failure condition. Safeguards were inacted to assure that each condi- 
tion was accurately perceived by the student as success and failure. 
It was further hypothesized that the mean expectancy levels for each 
group would be correlated to respective performance means. 

Expectancy was shown to have little correlation to subsequent 
performance in success or failure conditions. Placement in a success 
or failure condition did not yield significantly different expectancy 
estimates; however, a significant difference in performance levels was 
shown. It was concluded that experimentally induced success or failure 
has a differential effect on performance of EH boys. 



vm 



CHAPTER I 
INTRODUCTION 

It is common for some children to experience difficulties in school. 
When such difficulties are thought to be the result of the emotional 
problems of the child, that child is often referred to as emotionally 
handicapped (EH). The emotionally handicapped child has special needs 
which are usually addressed in a special classroom environment (O'Neal! & 
Sibbison, 1975). One of the primary characteristics of many EH children 
is achievement at a level below that which would be expected by intellectual 
estimates of their abilities (Kelly, Bullock, & Dykes, 1974); this poor 
academic achievement cannot be attributed to intellectual, sensory, or 
physical deficits. The EH child experiences failure as a result of his 
problem behaviors. In personal as well as academic settings, failure is 
one variable which affects one's overall performance as well as expectancy 
for success (Jones, 1977). 

Expectancy can be described as the level of expected performance one 
has for a task. Most researchers have chosen to examine expectancy levels 
for persons under two experimental conditions: success and failure (Feather, 
1968; Jones, 1977; Marks, 1951). Success generally leads to an increase 
in expectancy of success; while failure generally leads to a decrease in 
expectancy of success. Equally important are the personal attributions 
one places on success or failure; common attributions are (1) ability, 
(2) effort, (3) task difficulty, and (4) luck (Frieze & Weiner, 1971; 

i 



Heider, 1958). Success attributed to luck does not always lead to an 
increase in expectancy. When success or failure are seen as the result 
of ability, the greatest expectancy changes usually occur. 

Expectancies with exceptional children have been shown to fluctuate 
with success and failure (Robbins & Harway, 1977; Shuster & Gruen, 1971). 
The orientation or striving for success characteristically found in many 
normal children, is often replaced in exceptional children by a striving 
to avoid failure (Cromwell, 1963; Zigler, 1962). It has been suggested 
that inordinate amounts of failure may have a detrimental effect on expec- 
tancy of success and thereby lead to this tendency to avoiding failure. 

The expectancy research with retarded children has demonstrated 
that performance as well as expectancy may be altered by success and 
failure experiences (Mercer & Snell, 1977). Emotionally handicapped 
children experience failure in school (Shea, 1978); they also exhibit 
many behaviors associated with learning disabled and mentally retarded 
children (Hallahan & Kauffman, 1977; Neisworth & Greer, 1975). While 
expectancy research with retarded children has been extensive (Mercer & 
Snell, 1977), little has been completed with EH or learning disabled 
youngsters. It would seem appropriate, then, to investigate the effects 
of success and failure experiences within these other groups of exceptional 
children utilizing methods and procedures similar to those developed for 
studies of mentally retarded children. 

Statement of the Problem 
While research has shown that retarded children's expectancies and 
performances are differentially affected by success and failure experiences, 



no such systematic efforts have been devoted to this phenomenon within 
an EH group of children. This study was designed to investigate the 
extent to which EH children's expectancies and performances could be 
altered by success or failure induced experiences. 

Questions Under Investigation 
In order to address this problem, the following questions were of 
interest: 

1. What are the effects of success and failure on the expectancies 
and actual performances within a group of EH fourth and fifth grade boys? 

2. What is the relationship between the expectancies and the levels 
of performance within a group of EH fourth and fifth grade boys? This 
study was designed to answer these questions. 

Rationale 
Exceptional children are likely to have experienced many failures in 
school (O'Neal! & Sibbison, 1975; Shea, 1978; Smith & Neisworth, 1976). 
The effects of failure experiences have been shown to influence expectancies 
as well as subsequent performances in a variety of settings (Jones, 1977; 
Mercer & Snel 1 , 1977). Research has demonstrated that mentally retarded 
cnildren are more prone to a failure orientation than to one of success 
and that this orientation can be altered (Cromwell, 1963; Mercer & Snel 1 , 
1977; Zigler, 1962). The expectancies and performance levels of retarded 
children have also been affected by experimental procedures (Levy, 1 974; 
Mercer h. Snel 1 , 1977; Robinson & Robinson, 1973; Rosen, Diggory & Werlinsky, 
1966). While many of the behavioral characteristics of EH and mentally 
retarded children overlap (Hallahan & Kauffman, 1977; Neisworth & Greer, 



1975), no research implication exists with regard to the effects of 
success and failure experiences. If it can be demonstrated that 
expectancies and performance levels can be influenced within a group 
of EH children, then it may also be possible to develop teaching 
techniques similar to those utilized with retarded children (Mercer & 
Snell, 1977), to improve the instruction of emotionally handicapped 
children as well . 

Definition of Terms 
Emotionally Handicapped 

The emotionally handicapped student is the student who, after receiv- 
ing supportive assistance and counseling services available to all students, 
still exhibits persistent and consistent severe behavioral disabilities 
which consequently disrupt his/her own learning process. This is a student 
whose inability to achieve adequate progress or satisfactory interpersonal 
relationships cannot be attributed to physical, sensory, or intellectual 
deficits. 
Expectancy 

Refers to an individual's anticipated level of future performance. 
The score that a child estimates he will obtain on a subsequent task. 
Failure 

Refers to the treatment in which the child is told that he did not 
do well at estimating the number of cards that he would guess correctly. 
Progressive Matrix Score 

Refers to the number of correct and incorrect responses obtained by 
the child on the progressive matrix sheet. A score of seven implies that 
seven were correct of the ten possible answers. 



Success 

Refers to the treatment in which the child is told that he did well 
at estimating the number of cards that he would guess correctly. 

Hypotheses 

This study was designed to investigate two questions related to the 
effects of failure or success on EH children's expectancy of success 
and performance on a novel task. In order to test the relationship 
between these variables, the following null hypotheses were included: 

Hypothesis 1 . There will be no relationship between expectancy 
levels obtained from students who received failure feedback on the pre- 
liminary guessing task, and their actual performance levels on the prog- 
ressive matrix worksheet. 

Hypothesis 2 . There will be no relationship between expectancy 
levels obtained from students who received success feedback on the pre- 
liminary guessing task, and their actual performance levels on the 
progressive matrix worksheet. 

Hypothesis 3 . There will be no difference between mean scores of 
success and failure groups as measured by their progressive matrix 
score. 

Hypothesis 4 . There will be no difference between the mean scores 
of success and failure groups as measured by their verbal reports of 
expectancy of success for the progressive matrix worksheet. 

Del imitations 
The scope of the study was confined to the following factors: 
1. Only boys classified and being served in programs for the 



emotionally handicapped were included; by definition, then, no retarded, 
learning disabled, or normal children were studied. 

2. Only boys attending resource room programs in Alachua County, 
Florida, were studied. No severely disturbed children (i.e., autistic 
or schizophrenic) were included in the sample. 

3. Only children attending elementary schools were included; no 
boys in middle or high schools participated in the study. 

Limit ations 

In view of the fact that literature pertaining to the effects of 
success and failure for EH children was not available, any endeavor to 
investigate the concepts of expectancy and performance with regard to 
them was based on methods and procedures used with other populations. 
The results, however, only show descriptive data concerning the reactions 
within this specific population and should not imply conclusions for 
others. 

The general izability of the results will be limited for several 
reasons: 

1. The expectancy estimates may have been biased because students 
might favor marking on smiling faces (Appendix B) instead of frowning 
faces. The worksheet was sensitive to perceived success and failure 

of students. 

2. The results may be limited due to the unestablished reliability 
of the expectancy measures. Tne coefficient for the performance 
matrix is reported in the results. A validity check was made for 
expectancy estimates. 



3. The learning task and setting may not be representative of 
those encountered in a typical school classroom. Equally, no general- 
ization can be made as to how girls of children of other categories of 
exceptionality may respond. 



CHAPTER II 

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 

The literature reviewed in this chapter has been divided into two 
major sections. The first section describes the emotionally handicapped 
child. The second section discusses expectancy; factors which affect 
expectancy levels within various populations have been presented. 

Emotionally Handicapped 

Exceptional children exhibit a wide variety of characteristics. 
Hallahan and Kauffman (1978) have included numerous psychological, 
educational, and behavioral characteristics which are not always 
present in only one classification of child. In their discussion of 
categories of children served by special education, the emotionally 
disturbed child is presented as exhibiting varied behaviors. 

Emotionally handicapped (EH) is a term chosen by the State of 
Florida to replace the more common term emotionally disturbed. Reinert 
(1975) discussed various conventional definitions for emotional dis- 
turbance; he suggested that the negative aspects of many definitions 
in use across the country illustrate the need for a better term. It 
is likely that these negative connotations associated with the word 
"disturbed" have influenced Florida's adoption of the term "handicapped." 

Prevalence figures of emotionally handicapped children have been 
estimated by prominent educations from 1% to 22?^ (Bower, 1960; Kirk, 1972) 



The United States Office of Education, Bureau for the Education of the 
Handicapped, has estimated that 2% of public school children are 
emotionally disturbed. Florida currently provides services to approxi- 
mately 2% of its school population as emotionally handicapped. 

The type of service delivery for emotionally handicapped children 
in the schools is usually chosen according to the severity of the 
handicap. O'Neall and Sibbison (1975) report that the most common type 
of service for these children is to provide a resource room teacher; 
children served in a resource room will remain in the regular classroom 
for a majority of the school day. These authors also state that self 
contained special classrooms serve 25% and that about 12% of the emo- 
tionally handicapped children are served by alternative schools. These 
last two models are typically for children considered to be more severe. 

The definition of an emotionally handicapped student used for the 
present study has been adopted by Florida (see definitions in Chapter I); 
it states that a student can be considered as emotionally handicapped if 
he has received supportive educational services available to all students 
and still exhibits persistent and consistent severe to ^/ery severe 
behavioral disabilities that interfere in his learning process. A 
child is considered for placement and service if his inability to per- 
form academically or to establish satisfactory interpersonal relation- 
ships cannot be attributed to physical, sensory, or intellectual 
deficits. Several inclusion factors state that the school must have 
documented evidence of attempted educational programming, length and 
severity of the problem, disruption of academic progress, and evidence 
to exclude a primary physical, sensory, or intellectual deficit (Florida 
Department of Education, 1977). 



Some general characteristics present in the state guidelines 
(Florida Department of Education, 1977) are very similar to components 
of the definition of emotional disturbance presented by Bower and 
Lambert (1971): (a) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by 
intellectual, sensory, or health factors; (b) inappropriate types of 
behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; (c) a general mood 
of unhappiness or depression; (d) a tendency to develop physical symptoms, 
pain, or fears associated with personal or school problems; (e) an 
inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships 
with peers or teacher; and (f) a variety of excessive behavior ranging 
from hyperactive and aggressive responses to severe depression and with- 
drawal. Similar characteristics are included in discussions of disturbed 
children (Hallahan & Kauffman, 1973; Kauffman, 1977; Kirk, 1972; Reinert, 
1976). 

The state guidelines also list 24 specific characteristics which 
assist teachers in identifying the emotionally handicapped child. These 
characteristics range from immature behavior to hyperactive behavior. 
Numerous behavior rating scales used by teachers include behaviors such 
as bizarre speech, defiance, abnormal sexual interest, and disruptive- 
ness. The . ist of specific characteristics that are suggestive of 
emotional disturbance include behaviors that others may consider dis- 
turbing or bothersome (Algozzine, 1977). This bothersome behavior 
often interferes with task relevant stimuli and therefore leads to 
failure on academic measures. These same behaviors may also result 
in failure to establish relationships; the EH child is likely to 
experience rejection, harassment, and hostility from his peers (O'Connor, 



10 



1969). Bullock and Brown (1972) discussed related factors which may 
effect the incidence statistics for EH students; they found that 73% 
of the children being served in ED programs in Florida were boys. 
Equally a large majority of the emotionally disturbed children they 
studied were academically achieving below grade level. 

The EH child exhibits many varied behaviors which can interfere 
with his learning process. In view of the fact that the EH child has 
no primary intellectual problem, it is fair to assume that learning 
can take place if the child is providing effort towards completion of 
the work. Because the EH child has experienced considerable failure, 
it is also reasonable to assume that success at a task would be more 
facilitative to subsequent learning than more failure. Learning 
situations which are perceived as successful by EH children may lead 
to increased effort and/or increased performance. 

Expectancy 

Expectancy is defined by Rotter as "the probability held by the 
individual that a particular reinforcement will occur as a function 
of a specific behavior on his part in a specific situation or situations. 
Expectancy is independent of the value or importance of the reinforce- 
ment" (1954, p. 107). Expectancy is a term used to describe the degree 
to which the individual believes that he is the controlling agent of 
change in his own behavior. Rotter suggests that expectancy is modi- 
fiable by learning and experience. 

Although Rotter coined the term "expectancy," Feather has completed 
considerable research on the topic (Feather, 1965; Feather & Saville, 



11 



1967; Feather & Simon, 1971; Feather & Simon, 1973). His expectancy 
estimates were obtained mainly by a self report data given by subjects 
either just prior to a task or after practice trials preceding the 
task. Subjects were induced to high or low expectations of success 
by providing anagrams of varying difficulty. 

When one is attempting a task in which he has experience, his past 
success or failure at the task will have a major effect on expectancy 
(Feather, 1968, Jones, 1977). For example, Feather (1968) gave college 
students 15 anagrams to solve. Half of the students received anagrams 
where the first five solutions were easy and the other half received 
anagrams where the first five solutions were insoluble. For all stu- 
dents the last ten anagrams were of the same difficulty level. Students 
were asked to estimate their chances of solving each anagram just prior 
to attempting it. For those students who received initial anagrams of 
low difficulty, their expectancy of success increased each time until 
they reached the last ten anagrams. When confronted with the seemingly 
more difficult anagrams, the expectancy of success slowly decreased. For 
students who received difficult initial anagrams, their expectancy of 
success was initially low but gradually improved as the relatively 
easier anagrams appeared. 

If a task is novel, the expectancy is primarily determined by an 
individual's generalized expectancy (Jones, 1977); this generalized 
expectancy is considered to be a relatively stable global assessment 
of one's chances of success in everyday situations (Feather, 1965; 
McCaughan, 1975; Rotter, 1966). When an individual is confronted with 



12 



a novel task, one variable which can effect expectancy level is information 
about the performance of various reference groups. For example, if a 
student is told that other people like him usually score 70% on a test, 
then that student's expectancy would generally approximate the 70% 
level. Studies by Chapman and Volkman (1939) and Festinger (1942) showed 
that college students rated their expectancy of success as just above 
the performance of a homogeneous reference group. Jones (1977) sum- 
marizes the effects of experience on expectancy by suggesting that an 
individual is responsive to his past experiences with a familiar task 
or to information about the performance of others at a novel task. 

Rotter (1954) suggested that expectancies operated independently 
of reinforcement values. Jessor and Readio (1957) studied the effect 
of different levels of reinforcement on expectancy levels of 94 fourth 
graders. Students threw darts over a screen at a hidden target. The 
subjects were divided into three groups, with each group receiving 
one, two, or three M&Ms for hitting the target. Success was manipulated 
so that students were successful either three or ten times in 20 tosses. 
Just before throwing the 21st dart all students were asked to estimate 
their chances of hitting the target. In support of Rotter's earlier 
claim, no effect on expectancy resulted from a variation in the value 
of the reinforcer; expectancy levels were effected by the objective 
probability of success. For example, expectancy levels for those 
students who had ten hits were higher than those students who had only 
three successful hits. Performance on a task seems to have a direct 
effect on subsequent estimates of performance on the same task. 



13 



Marks (1951) showed ten sets of 10 cards to 120 fifth and sixth 
graders. An equal number of high and low socioeconomic status (SES) 
boys and girls were chosen. The subjects were to guess whether each 
card was a picture card or not; they were told the objective proba- 
bility of picking a face card for each set of cards. Expectancy 
estimates were not affected by SES, intelligence, or sex differences, 
however, estimates fluctuated uniformly with the objective probability 
assigned to the trial. Similar results have been demonstrated by Jessor 
and Readio (1957). Weiner (1974) suggested that success attributed 
to luck may actually lead to a decrease in expectancy; he also pointed 
out that success attributed to ability often increased expectancy and 
performance more than success attributed to good luck. 

Several studies have shown that college students tend to assume 
personal responsibility for success and view it as caused by some 
ability factor (Feather & Simon, 1971; Frieze & Weiner, 1971). These 
same authors also found that the primary variable which effects whether 
one attributes success to ability or luck is the initial level of 
expectancy. For those whose initial expectancy is high and success 
occurs, there seems to be an attribution to ability and for those with 
low initial expectancy estimates the attribution given to success is 
luck. 

Locke (1967) found that success produced satisfaction and a positive 
valence towards the task regardless of whether expected or unexpected. 
Griffith (1977) studied the effects of success performance with 44 
college students. When students were given success at preliminary ana- 
grams they were described as having feelings of control over the outcomes 



14 



of following anagrams. This control led to higher expectancies; these 
reported feelings of control suggest that success might lead to an 
internal locus of control viewpoint, at least for that task. 

The occurrence and frequency of success have been shown to initiate 
a rise in expectancy and performance for college and elementary-age 
students. When success is attributed to one's ability, the magnitude 
of the increase is maximal. For those individuals who hold high initial 
expectancies and then perceive success, an attribution to personal 
ability is linked with the success. If the EH child holds a high initial 
expectancy and experiences success, it is likely that he will attribute 
the success to his own ability and that it will influence subsequent 
expectancies and performances. If the EH child holds a low initial 
expectancy and experiences success, it is likely that he will attribute 
that success to luck; success attributed to luck may have different 
effects than that attributed to ability. 

Failure and Expectancy 

Failure at a task was mentioned as leading to tendencies for lower 
expectancies for success on that task (Feather, 1968; Locke, 1967). 
Sears (1940) found that failure for college students at a task led to 
variability in their expectancy of success on similar tasks. Feather 
and Saville (1967) have investigated the question of how much failure 
affected expectations. Subjects were grouped into eight different 
success or failure conditions on three practice anagrams. Probability 
estimates or expectancy of success decreased after failure; predominant 
failure produced more change in expectancies than predominant success. 



15 



Failure also led to a dislike for the task. Locke (1967) found that a 
valence, like or dislike, towards a task was not affected by deviation 
from initial expectancy as much as from success or failure experienced. 

Jones (1977) has mentioned that failure does not always lead to 
lower expectancies. The four attributions mentioned for success (i.e., 
ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck) will also vary the effects 
of failure. Feather and Simon (1971) asked 85 high school boys to rate 
the degree for which they considered four factors were responsible for 
task outcome. After performing on a ten item anagram task with manipulated 
failure, subjects were asked to rank the factors of effort, ability, task 
difficulty, or luck as causes of the performance outcomes. For those 
subjects who had initially low expectancies of success, attributions 
were more to lack of ability. When subjects attributed poor performance 
to lack of ability, expectancy and performance tended to decrease. When 
boys whose initial expectancy was high received failure there was a 
tendency to attribute this to specific factors like bad luck or lack of 
effort. These attributions had only minimal effects on subsequent 
expectancies and performances. 

Failure has been shown to have a depressing effect on expectancy and 
performance levels in most instances. Persons receiving excessive amounts 
of failure also tended to avoid and foster a dislike for the task. For 
individuals whose initial expectancies are low, failure leads to an 
attribution of personal inability. Failure is least apt to lower one's 
expectancies if it is perceived as based on luck; this allows the person 
to avoid taking the blame or responsibility for the failure. If the EH 
child holds a high expectancy for success and experiences failure, he 



16 



likely attribute the failure to luck and its effects should be minimized. 
If he holds a low initial expectancy and experiences failure, it is 
likely that the failure will be attributed to lack of ability. 

Success and Failure with Exceptional Children 

Success and failure can have varying effects on expectancies of 
exceptional children. Subjects of the previously mentioned studies were 
students in college or the public schools who could be described as 
individuals striving towards success. Exceptional children such as the 
educable mentally retarded (EMR) or physically handicapped have been 
described as striving to avoid failure. Cromwell (1963) and Zigler (1962) 
affirmed that retarded individuals have a higher expectancy for failure 
than do normal individuals. This negative orientation led to problem 
solving approaches that were directed to avoid failure rather than to 
achieve success. Cromwell also suggested that this was a result of 
limited cognitive abilities which have caused the child to have a history 
of failure experiences. Rosen, Diggory, and Werlinsky (1966) investi- 
gated the expectancy levels of 11 institutionalized adolescents. The 
subjects were matched on sex (i.e., male), intellectual quotient (IQ), 
and chronological age (CA). Performance of the two groups was measured 
across two conditions on a nut and bolt assembly task. The institutional- 
ized group was more confident of ultimate success when predicting per- 
formance. This finding suggests that the insitutionalized adolescent 
experiences less failure and is therefore more optimistic and success 
oriented (Rosen, Diggory, & Werlinsky, 1966). 

Cromwell (1963) has reported that the amount of failure one receives 
is not as critical a variable as mental age (MA). The individual with 



17 



limited intelligence has been described as hedonistic which leads to 
approaching tasks which have been associated with pleasurable events 
and avoiding tasks associated with unpleasant events. Zigler (1967) 
and McMillan (1969) utilized a task interruption paradigm to test the 
success striving (SS) versus failure avoiding (FA) motivational dimen- 
sion in retarded and normal individuals. The retarded groups in these 
studies indicated that regardless of whether a completed task or an 
interrupted task was selected for resumption, they overwhelmingly 
blamed themselves for the incompletion of the task. This is an example 
of the retarded child's internalization of responsibility for failure. 
This phenomena was not seen in the normal groups of either study. Sub- 
jects who were matched on IQ or MA showed no difference in their attri- 
bution for blame. 

Additional support for the idea that expectancy of success may be 
related to MA instead of the number of years of failure was reported by 
Shuster and Gruen (1971). They investigated (a) whether manipulations 
of success and failure differentially affect the performance predictions 
of retarded and non-retarded children in a constant manner, and (b) 
whether experimentally induced success and failure experiences on a task 
have any consistent effects on the expectancy of success of children. 
Twenty-four mildly retarded and 48 non-retarded children were asked 
to define 30 words. Randomly selected members of each group were 
given 15 easy words followed by 15 difficult words. This simulated 
success followed by failure (S-F). The others received the difficult 
words first followed by the easy words. Expectancy estimates of 
success were obtained from all students before the 6th, 11th, 16th, 



II 



21st, and 26th words. The expectancies of the MA equivalent groups were 
not significantly different. It is not justifiable to assume that all 
retarded children have had a history of failure without examining their 
past histories. The effect of the experimental manipulation over trials 
supported the idea that success leads to a raising of expectancy while 
failure experiences lead to a lowering of expectancies; however, that 
attribution associated with the experience also has relevance (Feather & 
Saville, 1967; Feather & Simon, 1971). The (F-S) group was more variable 
in their predictions of success than those in the (S-F) group. This was 
presumed due to the intensity felt by receiving 15 straight failures but 
may have been due to an attribution to luck versus ability in the two 
groups. 

Cromwell and Moss (1959) chose to investigate whether retarded 
individuals paid attention to the reward value of a task in addition to 
the success or failure of the task. Their institutionalized retardates 
had a mean IQ of 58. Subjects were asked to predict whether cards pre- 
sented face down were yellow or black. Each person guessed each card 
in a deck of 80 cards three times. No reward was given for the first 
time, a 25<£ reward was possible the second time, and a 5c reward was 
possible the last time; these conditions were counterbalanced for order. 
No significant differences were found between the two reward groups, 
however, both groups made significantly more positive guesses than would 
have been expected by chance. Piper (1970) studied the same question and 
found that a positive value associated with an event does cause that event 
to be predicted more often by male EMR students and the reverse is also 
true with the value is negative. These results are contrasted with Jessor 



19 



and Readio's (1957) finding that normal children's expectancies are 
unchanged by reinforcement value. 

The studies which have reviewed success and failure and its results 
in expectancy change and performance with mentally retarded children have 
revealed some dissenting information. First, Cromwell (1963) and Zigler 
(1962) maintained that failure avoidance is the orientation for the 
retarded person. This is reportedly a function of their extensive his- 
tory of past failure. Rosen, Diggory, and Werlinsky (1966) utilized 
this theory and suggested that institutionalized mildly retarded indiv- 
iduals received less failure than noninstitutionalized counterparts and 
therefore had higher expectancies of success. Shuster and Gruen (1971) 
and McMillan (1969) espoused the idea that reaction of the mildly retarded 
individuals towards success is a function of mental age and not simply a 
resultant of a past history of failure. Shuster and Gruen also demon- 
strated that programized success experiences can effect expectancies of 
success and performance in the mildly retarded. 

A second area of conflicting information relates to the effects 
of reinforcement on expectations. Cromwell and Moss (1959) found that 
the reward value associated with the task was not instrumental in 
changing expectancies of mentally retarded individuals while Piper (1970) 
found contradictory results. Levy (1974) used knowledge of results to 
assist in performance gains for the mildly retarded; knowledge of success 
coupled with reinforcement was instrumental in the performance gains for 
the subjects. Unfortunately very few of the investigators have given 
knowledge of results along with social reinforcement in their studies. 



20 



Shuster and Gruen (1971) did not find a significant relationship 
between experimentally induced success and failure in mildly retarded and 
normal children in terms of their expectancies of success. This is pos- 
sible for two reasons: (1) No check was made to determine if induced 
failure and success were actually perceived as such by the subjects, and 
(2) no precautions were taken to ensure that expectancy estimates given 
were not simply responses of wishful thinking rather than an estimate of 
actual predicted performance. The important factor to garner from the 
studies of the success and failure strivings of the mildly retarded is 
that orientation towards striving for success and higher expectancies 
of success are possible by utilizing success experiences, knowledge of 
results, and appropriate reinforcement (Mercer & Snell, 1977). 

Research on expectancies in the mildly retarded child is present 
in abundance, while similar studies with other exceptional populations 
are sparse. Harway (1962) studied the goal setting behavior of physically 
handicapped children and normal children who were matched on age, IQ, sex, 
and grade. She found that the 80 physically handicapped children tended 
to be more inconsistent and varied in responses to success and failure, 
while the 40 normal children showed expected changes in goal setting as 
a result of success and failure. The physically handicapped group would 
set unrealistically high goals even after repeated failure. Once again 
wishful thinking may have played a part in the levels of aspiration and 
suggest a difference from actual expectancy of success. Equally, the 
attributions associated with the success and failure are important to 
consider. 



21 



A similar study with learning disabled children in which goal 
setting and levels of aspiration were investigated has been completed 
(Robbins & Harway, 1977). Seventy-eight boys from the ages of 8-11 
years were used. An equal number of experimental and control children 
were chosen after matching on three standardized test variables. The 
learning disabled children showed greater variability in their goal 
setting than the control group. The control group was also more system- 
atic in their reactions to previous performance than the learning dis- 
abled children. 

Gewirtz (1960) found that "bright" first and second grade high 
needs achievers actually had preference for harder problems. This is 
quite a contrast from the avoidance behavior noted in retarded children. 
It is interesting to note that no "emotionally disturbed or unwilling 
students" were among the 100 subjects. 

There is a dearth of literature surrounding the expectancies of 
emotionally handicapped children. A common practice for teachers of 
emotionally handicapped children is to attempt to shield or mask failure 
for the child. While this may be a reasonable viewpoint, no systematic 
investigation of the effects of failure or success on subsequent per- 
formance or expectancy of performance has been completed. 

This study was designed to investigate the effects of success and 
failure within a group of EH boys. To accomplish this, the procedures 
of other expectancy studies were utilized and improved upon to some 
extent. 

The expectancy levels obtained by most of the previously mentioned 
investigators were self report in nature and done after experimentally 



22 



induced success or failure. One possible reason for conflicting results 
may be that the individuals did not perceive the conditions as intended. 
For instance, intended failure might be perceived as success simply 
because the child is not attempting to reach a MQry high level of attain- 
ment. Crandall (1963) devised a method for measuring whether knowledge 
of results and intended success or failure is comprehended by the individual 
Crandall found that 26 of 30 students in the success condition reflected 
success while 29 of 30- students in the failure condition reflected failure. 
Crandall 's method seemed useful as a manipulation check within the context 
of this study. 

Many of the previous studies have asked subjects to state expec- 
tancies for various tasks and may have obtained what the child hoped to 
get right. This may have been different from what was expected to be 
right; this wishful thinking factor has been a much criticized element 
of expectancy research (Jones, 1977; Marks, 1951). With controls on 
wishful thinking and validation of success and failure perceptions, 
this study was expected to begin to answer the question of how success 
and failure effect expectancies and performances of elementary-aged 
EH boys. 



CHAPTER III 

METHODS AND PROCEDURES 

Chapter III presents the methods and procedures of the study. This 
includes a description of the subjects, instrumentation, procedures for 
collection of data, and the design for the study. 

Subjects 

A sample of EH boys was selected from children enrolled in the 
Alachua County school system. A list of students from the fourth and 
fifth grades was obtained. The names of all male subjects who were 
receiving resource room exceptional services for emotionally handi- 
capped children were identified. Fifty of these boys were randomly 
chosen and subsequently assigned to either a success or a failure con- 
dition. One subject in the success condition was unable to supply 
parental permission to participate in the study; one student in the 
failure condition failed to perceive his performance as failure. These 
two children were not included in subsequent analysis. The demographic 
data for the 48 children who participated in the study are posted in 
Table 1. It should be noted that initial expectancies for the boys were 
high; that is, 74% of the children thought they would do approximately 
3 of 10 correctly prior to performing any tasks. 

While math achievement scores and initial expectancy estimates for 
the two groups did not differ, the means for perceived success (x=3.8) or 
failure (x=3.2) were significantly (t=14.66, p. < .05) different. This 

23 



25 



I— -C QJ 
<C +-> > 

i— i n3 CD 



ii ii 

Ix lx 



Ix ix 



25 



suggests that the experimental manipulation was effective in influencing 
perceived level of success. The success group perceived themselves as 
rating a high performance on the first task, while the failure group 
perceived a much lower rating (i.e., approximately 3) as appropriate. 
Chi-square analyses of the race and demographic variables were performed 
to determine if they were evenly distributed across treatment groups. 
An analysis of the results suggested that the success and failure groups 
were composed of similar children with regard to those variables mentioned, 

Instrumentation 

The students were asked to complete two tasks. The first involved 
the use of playing cards. The aces and deuces were taken from two decks 
of standard size, plastic coated, playing cards. These 16 cards were 
shuffled in the presence of the child and the top ten cards were placed 
face down in a line in front of him. The child was then asked to guess 
whether each card was an ace or a deuce (see answer sheet in Appendix A). 
After the child's ten responses, the examiner gave feedback according 
to a predetermined schedule. Five similar trials were administered, 
with the cards being shuffled before each trial. 

A worksheet was developed to record the students' expectancy 
estimates and to provide knowledge of results (see Appendix B). This 
worksheet was patterned after one used by Crandall (1963); it was 
deisgned to assess whether children perceived success or failure after • 
being placed into those experimental conditions. Children marked on 
the form indicating how well they thought they would do prior to begin- 
ning and also indicated how well they thought they actually did after five 



27 



trials on the first task. This was matched with the actual treatment to 
see if the child perceived his performance according to the condition in 
which he was placed. This form also allowed the examiner to graphically 
show the knowledge of results on the two tasks. 

A pilot study with ten fourth and fifth grade EH children was com- 
pleted to determine if the methodology for presentation of success and 
failure was perceived appropriately. Five students who received experi- 
mentally induced failure reflected failure on the response sheet; the 
five students who received experimentally induced success all reflected 
success on the response sheet. 

For the second task, each child was asked to complete a progressive 
matrix worksheet (see Appendix C) which contained ten items; he used a 
number two pencil to complete it. The worksheet was pretested with 95 
fourth and fifth grade boys (47 fourth graders and 48 fifth graders) 
and the median score was six correct. The pilot children were in regular 
classrooms and all were doing work which would merit passing to the next 
grade in fall. An internal consistency estimate (i.e., coefficient 
alpha) of .88 for the reliability of the matrix worksheet was obtained. 

The individual chosen to administer the tasks to the children was 
a male graduate student who had five years of experience working with 
emotionally handicapped students. He was not told the rationale for the 
study; however, he was told that every child reacts differently and that 
no trend in results was predicted. The examiner was cautioned to refrain 
from talking with the child during the data collection and to say only 
what was suggested in the directions (see Appendix A); observation of the 
examiner on five different occasions suggested that he had followed these 
directions. 



28 



Grade equivalents in math achievement were available as a part of 
the end of year assessment procedure. The Peabody Individual Achievement 
Test (PIAT) was the instrument used to obtain the grade equivalents. 
The test-retest coefficients for raw scores for fifth graders on the math 
subtest was .73 (Dunn & Markwardt, 1970). Scores reported in Table 1 are 
grade equivalents. 

Procedures 



The study was conducted during the last two weeks of May and the 
first two weeks of June, 1978. The graduate student received two hours 
of training and practice prior to administering the tasks. He notified 
teachers of the selected students that the evaluation would take 20-30 
minutes. Parental permission forms were signed for all but one child. 
A request for a date and time was negotiated. Teachers and students 
were told that participation would involve two brief activities that 
would take about half an hour. Students were also told that a treat 
would be given for completion of the two tasks. 

The graduate student took each boy to a quiet room and attempted 
to establish rapport with him; after a couple of minutes, the intro- 
ductory paragraph was read to him. The directions and introductory 
paragraph were the same for all participants (see Appendix A). 

Before the student saw any of the testing materials, the expectancy 
worksheet was shown to him and he was read the introductory paragraph. 
He was then asked to mark an expectancy estimate for the upcoming task 
(see Appendix B). After the cards were shown to him, he was asked to 
estimate how many of the cards he would guess correctly. The student 



29 



then told the examiner his guess for each card. The examiner recorded 
the responses and gave the student feedback en the worksheet at a pre- 
determined level. Scores given to the students varied according to the 
criterion described on the failure or success response sheet (see Appen- 
dix C). A child who was in the success group was told that his guess was 
close or exactly right. Individuals in the failure group were told that 
their guesses were wrong or not close. Each student was given five trials 
at guessing the cards; each time, he was asked to guess how many he would 
get right before the guessing began. Similar feedback (i.e., either 
success or failure) was given after each trial. After the fifth trial 
was completed and feedback given, the child was then asked to mark on a 
separate worksheet indicating how well he thought he had actually done. 
His previous expectancy estimate was not visible at that time. 

The student was given the directions and introduction to tne second 
task before the new materials were presented. Students were asked to 
guess how many of the ten new items they would get right. All students 
received feedback which reflected success. This was to insure that those 
who had failed on the first section would receive some success and to 
insure that the experience of participating was not a negative one. 
Students were given a small bag of peanuts to eat while the examiner 
scored the second task. Performance scores and subjective probability of 
success estimates were recorded for later analysis. 

Analysis and Design 
The design for the study included two treatment conditions; with 25 
students randomly assigned to success and failure respectively. One 



30 



student assigned to the success group did not return a completed permis- 
sion slip. One student in the failure group did not accurately perceive 
the experimentally induced failure and was dropped from analysis. The 
number of students in each condition was 24; all subsequent analyses 
were completed with this group of boys. The dependent measures within 
each experimental group were the expectancy and performance levels 
related to the progressive matrix worksheet. A representation of this 
design is presented in Table 2. 

To test the significance of the relationship between expectancy 
levels and performance levels for the success group, a correlation 
coefficient was calculated. It has provided a check for Hypothesis 1 
(see page 5) . 

To test the significance of the relationship between expectancy 
levels and performance levels for the failure group, a correlation 
coefficient was calculated. It has provided a check for Hypothesis 2 
(see page 5). 

To test the significance of the difference between expectancy levels 
for the experimental groups, a t-test was performed. It has compared the 
reported mean expectancy level for success and failure groups and has 
conducted a test for Hypothesis 3 (see page 5). 

To test the significance of the difference between performance levels 
for the experimental group, a t-test was performed. It has compared the 
mean performance level for success and failure groups and has constituted 
a test for Hypothesis 4 (see page 5). 



31 



Table 2 represents the design used for comparison of the expectancy 
means of the two groups by use of a t-test. The sane design is used to 
compare performance means for the two groups. 

Table 2 



Design for T-Test Comparison of Expectancy Means 
Across Success and Failure Conditions 



Expectancy 



Ssl 


Yil 


Ss2 


Y12 


Ss3 


Y13 



SUCCESS 



Ss22 Y122 
Ss23 Y123 
Ss24 Y124 



FAILURE 



Ss25 Y225 
Ss26 Y226 
Ss27 Y227 



Ss46 Y246 
Ss47 Y247 

Ss48 Y248 



*This design was used in identical fashion to examine per- 
formance means across success and failure conditions. 



CHAPTER IV 
RESULTS, DISCUSSION, AND LIMITATIONS 

In this chapter, results of the statistical analyses of the data 
obtained in the investigation are presented. A discussion of those 
results and the limitations of the study are also included. 

The study was designed to investigate expectancy and performance 
scores of EH boys within success and failure conditions. Data obtained 
were from individual meetings with the boys during their regular resource 
room period. Measures obtained from the subjects included initial expec- 
tancy, specific expectancy for five trials on a chance task, perceived 
success or failure level, expectancy for a second task, and actual per- 
formance on the second task; each score obtained had a possible range 
of 1 to 10. The measures were self report forms and were recorded by 
the student by marking his response on a prepared sheet; this form was 
also used to give knowledge of results for the five trials of the chance 
task. Mean expectancy estimates for the second task and actual perform- 
ance on that task were dependent variables compared for success and 
failure students. 

A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was obtained between 
expectancy and performance scores for success and failure groups separ- 
ately and combined. This was done to estimate the relationship between 
the variables within success and failure conditions. 



32 



33 



Co r r e '[ a t ion Re s u H s_ 

The Pearson product-moment correlation between the dependent 
variables was obtained using the Statist ical Package for the Social 
Sciences (Nie, Hull, Jenkins, Steinbrenner, & Bent, 1970) correlation 
procedure. The coefficients for each group and the total sample between 
expectancy and performance scores were low (ii. ^.05). The hypothesis of 
no relationship between expectancy and performance scores for subjects 
in either the success or the failure group was retained. 

In order to compare expectancy estimates within both conditions, 
a t-test was utilized; in a similar fashion, an independent t-test was 
used to compare performance levels of the groups. Separate t-tests 
were selected rather than a multi-variate procedure because an analysis 
of the correlation coefficients between dependent variables indicated 
\ery little relationship in either condition. The high experiment-wise 
error rate commonly associated with univariate analysis of multi-variate 
data is minimized when intercorrelation of dependent variables approaches 
zero (Hummel & Sligo, 1971). If the variables are unrelated, the advan- 
tage of considering the means simultaneously is substantial. 

Although no correlation is indicated by the results, another factor 
may need to be considered. Assumptions of random, normal distribution 
among scores on expectancy and performance measure may have been skewed 
in opposite directions. 

Results of T-Tests 
Means and standard deviations for expectancy and performance levels 
on the matrix worksheet were computed; these values are contained in 



Table 3. No difference was indicated between success or failure subjects 
on expectancy for the matrix task (t (46} = 0.33,^> .05). The hypothesis 
of no differences in expectancy levels between subjects assigned to success 
and failure groups was retained. 

Performance means for the two groups were also compared; a signifi- 
cant difference (_t (23) = 2.28, p_ < .05) was indicated. The performance 
for the students receiving success was higher than for those who had 
received failure. The hypothesis of no difference in the performance 
sample means was rejected at the .05 level of confidence, Placement in a 
success or failure condition seemed to differentially effect performance 
on a subsequent level . 



Tabic 3 



Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations for 
Expectancy and Performance Scores of Success and Failure Groups 



SUCCESS 



FAILURE 



Expectancy 



7=7.46 
s=2.13 



x=6.96 

s=2.03 



Performance 



x=4.29 
s=3.14 



r=0.10 



x=2.25 
s=3.06 



r-0.13 



Disc ussio n 

This study investigated the effects of success and failure on 
expectancy and performance of emotionally handicapped boys, and the 
relationship between that expectancy and subsequent performance. 
Demographic characteristics of the two groups were similar; that is, 
initial expectancy and math achievement did not differ. The racial 
(black/white) and grade (4th/5th) composition of the success and failure 
groups also were equivalent. The success group had a slightly larger 
percentage of fourth graders than the failure group, while the failure 
group had a slightly larger percentage of blacks than the success group. 
These differences were found to be nonsignificant when considered using 
a Chi -square procedure. Comparison of the perceived success or failure 
means of the two groups suggested that the feedback given on the first 
task was appropriately perceived. The fact that the expectancy esti- 
mates for the second task were somewhat lower than the initial expectancy 
estimates for t groups suggests that a partial control on wishful 
thinking may h; occurred during the latter estimate. The performance 
mean for the combined groups indicated that approximately three problems 
were correctly completed. This is lower than the score of six which was 
obtained by subjects used to test the matrix worksheet; however, no EH 
children were included in the pilot study. 

When considering the question of whether success or failure can affect 
expectancy estimates on the progressigve matrix, one cannot say that suc- 
cess would lead to significantly higher expectancies than failure (Jones, 
1977). When considering the same question with regard to the effect of 
success and failure on performance on the progressive matrix, it seems 
that success leads to higher performance scores than failure (Griffth, 1977) 



37 



One possible explanation of why success and failure in the current 
study resulted in significant differences in performances and not in 
expectancy for a second task may be related to the manner in which 
attribution and perceived condition acted together. For those boys who 
had high initial expectancies in the success condition, the perceived 
successful performance on the first task may have been attributed to 
ability (Weiner, 1974). Attribution of success to ability would suggest 
that ability, which is relatively stable, may transfer to subsequent 
tasks; hence, a high performance on the second task (Freize & Weiner, 
1971). For those boys who had low initial expectancies in the success 
condition, success was probably attributed to luck and the small number . 
of successes was probably not enough to raise expectancy for a new and 
unknown task. Although there was possible conservatism on the subsequent 
estimate, the thought of recent success may have encouraged concentration 
and work for another success. For those boys whose initial expectancies 
were high and then received failure, attribution to bad luck for the task 
would revive one's expectancies on a second task. When confronted with 
a difficult problem on the matrix worksheet, this boy might have chosen to 
see his performance on the second task as being affected by luck and 
consequently looked for a pattern to answering instead of spending time 
working the problems. For those students whose initial expectancy was 
low and received failure, they probably attributed failure to lack of ability, 
(Feather & Simon, 1971). Since the first task was a chance task and all 
students were told that the second task was different from the first, 
expectancies were not affected differentially because all subjects felt 
that a new chance for success was apparent. When actually confronted with 



38 



a seemingly difficult progressive matrix (performance mean of 3.26), the 
failure group probably exerted less effort because of the pervasive 
feeling of another possible failure. It should also be noted that most 
of the boys in this study held a high initial expectancy of success. 

Another possible explanation for the lower performance scores for 
failure subjects is that the presence of a difficult task after a failure 
would lead to a helpless feeling and what Seligman (1975) called a passive 
approach to learning. It was observed by the examiner that several of 
the failure subjects wanted to quit but after being reminded that a treat 
would be given for completion they continued. The resultant effort was 
seemingly directed towards completing the worksheet and not at correctly 
answering the items. 

The results obtained are limited in their general izability. Since 
only EH boys were used, decisions about how girls or children in other 
categories of exceptionality may have responded can not be made. 
Equally, the results are limited to settings and tasks similar to 
those used in the study. Because of the nature of the instrument used 
to obtain expectancy estimates, the results are also limited. 



CHAPTER V 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

The emotionally handicapped (EH) child usually has a poor achieve- 
ment record despite having near normal intellectual abilities (Kelly, 
Bullock, & Dykes, 1974; Shea, 1978). The emotional problems associated 
with poor academic performance may also affect the child's ability to 
establish and maintain satisfactory relationships with peers and adults. 
The poor academic performance and/or inability to establish meaningful 
relationsnips with others generally leads the EH child to experience 
failure (L 'Connor, 1969; Shea, 1978). In order to provide additional 
assistance and support, most EH children receive some instructional time 
in a resource room setting where the teacher-pupil ratio is low and more 
personal attention is possible (O'Neall & Sibbison, 1975). Florida 
currently provides services to approximately 2% of its school population 
within programs for the emotionally handicapped. 

One factor which effects the performance of an individual is his 
expectancy of success for a task (Rotter, 1954). Expectancy can be des- 
cribed as the probability level one has for performance. When one is 
attempting a task in which he has experience, past success or failure at 
the task will have a major effect on expectancy and performance (Feather, 
1966; Marks, 1951). If a task is novel, the expectancy is primarily 
determined by an individual's generalized expectancy (Jones, 1977); this 
generalized expectancy is considered to be a relatively stable global 

39 



40 



assessment of one's chances of success in everyday situations (Feather, 
1965; McCaughan, 1976). Rotter (1966) suggested that expectancy is modi- 
fiable by learning and experience. Most investigators have attempted to 
vary the success or failure rate on a task to manipulate expectancy levels. 
Success generally leads to an increase in expectancy of success; while 
failure generally leads to a decrease in expectancy of success. 

Feather (1968) gave college students 15 anagrams to solve. The first 
five anagrams were easy for half of the students and insoluble for the 
others. For all students the last ten anagrams were of the same difficulty. 
Students were asked to estimate their chances of solving each anagram just 
prior to attempting it. Expectancy estimates for those subjects who 
received initial anagrams of low difficulty increased until the last ten 
anagrams were incurred; expectancy estimates for those who received 
insoluble initial anagrams decreased continually until the last ten 
anagrams were attempted. Feather concluded that expectancy of success 
at a task is directly proportional to the objective probability of 
success for that task. Additionally, Marks (1951) and Jessor and Readio 
(1958) have shown that for most children a greater percentage of success 
experiences raises one's expectancy for success. Jones (1977) suggested 
that an individual is responsive to his past experiences with ? task or 
to information about the performance of others at a novel task. Feather 
and Saville (1967) found that expectancy of success decreased after failure, 
and that predominant failure produced more change in expectancies than 
predominant success; failure also led to a dislike for the task. 

Researchers investigating the effects of success and failure on 
expectancies of exceptional children take opposing viewpoints. Cromwell 



41 



(1963) and Zigler (1962) suggested that retarded individuals have an 
orientation to avoid failure, and that a history of failure would lead 
to this orientation. Initial expectancy estimates for the retarded popu- 
lations are usually lower than for normals. Shuster and Gruen (1971) and 
McMillan (1969) report that a history of failure is not as critical to 
expectancy as mental age (MA). Levy (1974) used knowledge of results to 
assist in expectancy and performance gains for the mildly retarded. 
Results of the numerous studies of expectancy levels in retarded individuals 
have shown that experimentally induced success coupled with knowledge of 
results can effect changes in expectancies of mildly retarded youth. 
Similar studies with other exceptional children are few in number; how- 
ever, reactions to success and failure by these subjects have always 
shown greater variability than in normal subjects. For instance, Harway 
(1962) found that physically handicapped children would set unrealistic 
goals despite repeated failure. Robbins and Harway (1977) found that 
learning disabled children showed greater variability in goal setting 
than a control group. No studies have been reported in which expectancy 
levels of emotionally handicapped children were investigated. 

While success and failure generally result in increases and decreases 
in subsequent expectancy and performance estimates, it is also important 
to consider the attributions one associates with the success or failure. 
The attributions commonly mentioned are (1) ability, (2) effort, (3) task 
difficulty, and (4) luck (Frieze & Weiner, 1971; Heider, 1958). If one 
attributes success or failure to luck, little or no rise in expectancy 
and performance is observed; however, success or failure attributed to 
ability has resulted in greater outcome variation. Numerous authors 



42 



have also reported that the primary variable which determines whether one 
attributes success or failure to ability or luck is their initial level 
of expectancy (Feather & Simon, 1971; Frieze & Weiner, 1971). When sub- 
jects attributed poor performance to lack of ability, later expectancy 
estimates tended to decrease. The opposite effect was seen when one 
attributed success to ability. McMillan (1969) found that retarded 
groups tended to attribute lack of ability to uncompleted tasks; this 
was not seen in the normal group. Griffith (1977) has shown that success 
coupled with an attribution of ability leads to a feeling of control over 
the outcome of a task. 

The same variables which have been shown to effect expectancies 
have also been shown to effect performance. For example, Feather and 
Simon (1971) and Frieze and Weiner (1971) found that those individuals 
whose initial expectancies were high tended to have higher performance 
scores. Griffith (1977) and Feather (1968) found that those subjects 
who were given success on preliminary anagrams had higher performance 
scores on subsequent anagrams than those who had been given failure. 
Success at one task has been shown to affect the level of aspiration 
and performance on subsequent tasks (Frank, 1935). 

It seems, then, that the effects of success and failure may be 
predictable within certain groups dependent upon the personal attribu- 
tion assigned to that success and/or failure and the nature of the 
task (i.e., novel or previously attempted) (Feather, 1968, Feather & 
Simon, 1971; Jones, 1977). Effective teaching practices have been 
developed by utilizing this knowledge in working with mildly retarded 
children (Mercer & Snell , 1977); however, little research of this nature 
has been completed with other categories of exceptional children. 



43 



Purpose 
The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of success 
and failure on the expectancies and performances of elementary EH 
children. Research efforts investigating expectancies of EH children 
have not been found. With the use of knowledge of results and a validity 
check for perceived treatment, the present study has attempted to improve 
upon the methodology previously used to study the effects of success and 
failure in exceptional children. 

Procedures 
Subjects 

The subjects included in the study were 48 Alachua County fourth 
and fifth grade EH boys randomly chosen from those receiving resource 
room assistance. The boys were randomly assigned to either a success 
or a failure condition. The black/white ratio of all students was 
58%: 42%, and the ratio of 4th/5th graders was 60%: 40%. Math achievement 
scores were obtained for all subjects and the means for the two conditions 
were statistically similar (t=.01, p_ >.05). The race and grade compo- 
sition of the two groups was also equivalent (x^=.08, j) >.05 andx =.34, 
P >.05 respectively). 

Method 

Boys selected to participate were asked to complete two tasks. The 
first was a chance task and the second was a progressive matrix work- 
sheet (see Appendix C). The examiner obtained data during the last 
four weeks of school, and each child was seen individually. All children 
were told that they would receive a small treat for completion of the 



44 



two tasks. The student began by marking on a response sheet how well 
he expected to do on the upcoming two tasks. The students put an "x" 
on the face of the response sheet devised to record his expectancy 
(see Appendix B). Eight aces and eight deuces from two standard decks 
of cards were shown to the boys, and used for the first task. The 
examiner shuffled the cards and put ten face down in front of the boy. 
He then asked the child to guess what each card was (ace or deuce) and 
to guess how many of the ten he would guess correctly. Each boy was 
told that he should try to make his best guess. In other words, if he 
guessed two and actually identified eight correctly, he had missed by 
six and did not do well. An expectancy estimate was obtained just 
prior to each of the five trials on the first task. Feedback was 
given after each trial verbally and graphically (see Appendix B). 
Following the fifth trial and feedback, the boy was asked to mark how 
well he thought he actually did on the first task. For scores above 
five the boy was considered to have perceived success; while a score 
of five or lower meant that the boy perceived failure. Twenty-four 
randomly selected boys (n=48) were given feedback which would suggest 
success and the remainder received feedback which would suggest failure. 
A manipulation check was performed and greater than 95% of the boys 
accurately perceived the condition to which they had been assigned. 

Following the first task the boys were told that they would now 
attempt a different task (see Appendix A for correct wording) which 
was not like the first one. Each boy was asked to estimate how many of 
the ten items on the second task he thought he would get right. All 
children were given success feedback for the second task, and a treat 



45 



for completing the tasks. The examiner was not aware of the rationale 
or hypotheses for the study, but was told that the information obtained 
would be helpful in telling how EH children react to success and failure. 

The experimental procedure yielded expectancy and performance 
scores for the matrix task for boys who had received success or failure 
on a previous task. It was hypothesized that (1) there would be no 
relationship between expectancy levels obtained from students who 
received failure feedback on the preliminary guessing task, and their 
actual performance levels on the progressive matrix worksheet; (2) there 
would be no relationship between expectancy levels obtained from students 
who received success feedback on the preliminary guessing task, and their 
actual performance levels on the progressive matrix; (3) there would be no 
difference between mean scores of success and failure groups as measured 
by their progressive matrix scores; and (4) there would be no difference 
between the mean scores of success and failure groups as measured by 
their verbal reports of expectancy of success for the progressive matrix 
worksheet. 

Results 

With respect to the relationship between expectancy estimates and 
performance scores within the two conditions, little correlation was 
shown in either. For students in the success group, expectancy scores 
did not correlate with performance scores (,r=.10, ..p > .05) . A similar 
non-significant correlation (r=.!3, p >.05) was obtained when comparing 
expectancy estimates with performance scores within the failure group. 

With respect to the comparison of expectancy and performance means 
across the success and failure conditions, there were different results. 



46 



The t-test analysis showed that expectancy means across conditions did 
not differ significantly (t (46)=0.83, p_ >.05). When an independent 
t-test was performed comparing performance means, a significant differ- 
ence was noticed (t (46)=2.28, £ <C .05). The success group had similar 
expectancy means and a higher performance mean than the failure group. 



Discussion 

The relationship between expectancy and performance variables within 
treatment conditions was shown to be very low. Expectancy estimates did 
not seem to be correlated highly with subsequent performance for success 
and/or failure subjects. Since the dependent measures were seemingly 
unrelated, independent univariate t-tests were used to compare the 
expectancy and performance means across success and failure conditions. 
Although the expectancy mean for success subjects was higher than the 
expectancy mean for failure subjects, statistical significance was not 
present (see Table 3). Placement in the success condition did not lead 
to significantly higher expectancies. The performance mean for success 
subjects was significantly higher than the performance mean for failure 
subjects (see Table 3). Subjects who had received previous success 
performed better on the subsequent task than subjects who had previously 
received failure. 

One possible explanation for why sucesss effected higher performance 
scores and not higher expectancy estimates is that the nature of the 
first task, coupled with attributions for the condition acted together 
in the following manner: Subjects in the success condition with high 
initial expectancies saw their success as attributed to ability. Since 



47 



ability is usually stable, the boy probably would expect to do well on 
the second item and the experience of preliminary success would follow 
through to encourage the best performance possible even if the second 
task was difficult. For subjects with a low initial expectancy followed 
by success, the success was probably attributed to luck and subsequent 
expectancy estimates would remain high. When faced with the difficult 
matrix (x=3.24) task, the previous success would encourage the subject 
to try his best to obtain another success. For subjects with high 
initial expectancies and failure on the first task, failure was 
probably attributed to luck. The attribution to luck would only mini- 
mally affect expectancy; however, when faced with the difficult matrix, 
the thought of another possible failure may have caused the boy to 
treat the task as another chance task and look for a quick answer or 
to quit if no quick answer was evident. For subjects with low initial 
expectancy estimates and failure on the first task, the failure was 
probably attributed to lack of ability. Even though failure was per- 
ceived, the student was told that the second task was not like the 
first and, therefore, he might have felt that he had another chance. 
When faced with the difficult matrix worksheet, the subject probably 
felt as if another failure was imminent and put forth little effort 
in completion of the second task. It is interesting to note that 
there were only three boys with initial expectancies below five. 

One other possible explanation for a significant difference in 
performance means for the two groups is that those students who had 
received failure on the first task may have felt somewhat hopeless 
in performing accurately after viewing the matrix worksheet, and 



48 



exhibited what Seligman (1975) calls passive approach tc learning. 
This means that the child who receives enough failure will eventually 
foster a feeling of "what's the use in trying." This passive approach 
suggests that one is powerless to avoid failure and therefore leads 
the person to quit trying. It was observed that several of the sub- 
jects in the failure condition attempted a few problems on the matrix 
and wanted to quit. The examiner reminded these boys that a treat was 
given to those who completed the two tasks, and they did complete the 
worksheet. This effort was seen as directed at finishing and not 
necessarily towards solving the problems correctly. 

Conclusions 

Within the context of the present study, several conclusions seemed 
appropriate. First, elementary EH boys have high expectancies when con- 
fronted with novel tasks. This was consistent in this study for expec- 
tancies obtained for each of the two tasks. 

Second, expectancy was not highly related to performance. This 
seems to be the result of the novel nature of the second task as well 
as the actual performance required. Since the matrix task was difficult 
for children participating in the study, performance on this matrix seems 
to be better predicted by prior success or failure than by generalized 
expectancy. The EH boys in the study tended to have high expectancies. 
These expectancies were not seen as good predictors of the actual perform- 
ance; that is, thinking or feeling one would do well was not sufficient 
for actually doing well. Differences in performance were likely a 
function of a variable other than expectancy. 

Finally, experimentally induced success and failure seem to effect 
the performance of elementary EH boys. The children seemed to take a 



49 



different approach to the difficult learning task depending on prior 
success or failure; those boys who had previously received success seemed 
to approach the matrix worksheet with a desire to succeed again. Those 
students who previously received failure seemed to approach the task with 
high initial expectancies followed by a lack of effort when shown the 
difficult matrix worksheet. Findings derived from these data may have 
practical implications for others involved in either applied research 
or practice in this area. 

Implications for Research 

Analysis of the present results would suggest that further research 
is needed to clarify the role that attributions of success and failure 
play with EH children. Research is also needed which uses tasks which 
are typically found in resource rooms to check the effects of success 
and failure on performance. The effects of success and failure at 
academic tasks on performance would be valuable information for teachers 
of exceptional children. 



APPENDIX A 

Introductory Statement and Directions 

After the examiner has established at least a partial rapport with 
the student, the following paragraph was read to him: "We are going to 
try two tasks today. After you have completed both tasks you will receive 
a treat." The examiner then stated the introduction for the first task 
as follows: "I am giving these tasks to a lot of boys your age. Some 
of them are very good at this sort of thing, some are not particularly 
good. Here is a paper with a line of boys on it. As you see, here is 
the boy who does the very best on these tasks here at the top of the 
page. He is smiling. Here is the boy who does it the worst at the 
bottom. He is frowning. And these are all the boys in between (motioning) 
Now, before we start the tasks, put an X on the boy you think you will 
turn out to be when you get through." 

The examiner then stated the directions for the first task as 
follows: "Here are 16 cards. There are eight aces and eight deuces. 
I will shuffle them and put ten of them face down on the table. I want 
you to tell me what you think each card is and, finally, to guess how 
many will be right. You have done well if your guess is close to the 
number correct. You will not have done well if you miss by over two. 
For example, if you guess five and you actually got five then you have 
done well. If you guess two and actually get eight then your guess was 
not close and you have not done well." 

50 



51 



The examiner made sure that the directions were repeated until the 
subject knew what he was to do. When the boy was ready, his expectancy 
of success was obtained for the first trial. The subject was given 
written and verbal feedback after each trial and was asked to guess the 
number of correct choices for the next trial. 

After the five trials, the examiner asked the student for his 
perceptions of his performance as follows: "Now that you have had a 
chance to actually try the task, please mark how well you think you 
actually did . Put an X on the boy that shows how you did." 

The examiner will introduce the second task as follows: "Now I 
would like you to try another task. This task is not like the first 
one and cards are not used. This task is new to you and you have never 
had to do it before. This task has ten parts. How many do you think 
you will get right?" The response was recorded and the progressive 
matrix scales was given to the student and no verbal directions were 
given except the following: "Put in the number which is missing. Here 
is an example. The number that is missing in the example is six. Now, 
you do the rest of these. Take your time; you have ten minutes to com- 
plete the problems. " 

After the student finished, he was given the treat. The examiner 
then scored the worksheet and gave success feedback to the student. 



APPENDIX B 




52 



APPENDIX C 



Example 



1 


2 


3 


4 


5 




7 



36 


38 


40 


42 


44 




48 


5 


14 


23 


32 


41 




59 


47 


45 


43 


41 


39 




35 


54 


47 


40 


33 


26 




12 


87 


76 

1 

1 


65 


54 


43 




21 


26 


! 

38 i 


50 


62 


74 




98 


26 


i 
33 


40 



47 


54 




68 


13 


I 
26 

1 


39 


52 


65 




91 


48 

1 


42 


36 


30 


24 

i 




12 


93 


89 


85 


1 
81 


77 

! 


69 



53 



APPENDIX D 

Failure-Success Response Sheet 

Those students who are randomly placed into the success group will 
be given feedback according to the following scale: 

If Subject Feedback Feedback Feedback Feedback Feedback 
Responds for for for for for 
Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5 



1 


2 


2 


2 


1 


1 


2 


3 


3 


3 


2 


2 


3 


4 


4 


4 


3 


3 


4 


5 


5 


5 


4 


4 


5 


5 


6 


6 


5 


5 


5 


7 


7 


7 


6 


6 


7 


7 


8 


3 


7 


7 


3 


9 


9 


9 


8 


8 


9 


10 


10 


10 


9 


9 


10 


9 


9 


9 


10 


10 



For the first three trials the examiner will say the following: 

"You did well on that one. You guessed and you got . You only 

missed by one." For the last two trials the examiner will say the 

following: "You did 'jery well on that one. You guessed and you 

got . You were exactly right." 



54 



55 



Those students who are randomly placed into the failure group will 
be given feedback according to the following scale: 



If Subject 
Responds 


Feedback 

for 
Trial 1 


Feedback 

for 
Trial 2 


Feedback 

for 
Trial 3 


Feedback 

for 
Trial 4 


Feedback 

for 
Trial 5 


1 


5 


5 


5 


6 




6 


2 


6 


6 


5 


7 




7 


3 


7 


7 


7 


3 




8 


4 


S 


8 


3 


9 




9 


5 


1 


1 


1 


1 




1 


6 


2 


2 


2 


1 




1 


7 


3 


3 


3 


2 




2 


3 


4 


4 


4 


3 




3 


9 


5 


5 


5 


4 




4 


10 


5 


6 


6 


5 




5 



For all trials the examiner will say the following: "You did not 
do well on that one. You guessed and you got . You missed by 









APPENDIX L 












DATA FOR SUBJEC 


TS 


ACHIEVEMENT 




INITIAL 


PERCEIVED 


MATRIX 


MATRIX 


GRADE 




EXPECTANCY 


S OR F 


EXPECTANCY 


PERFORMANCE 


EQUIVALENT 


1 


10 


1 


4 


1 


4.7 


2 


10 


4 


9 


2 


6.0 


3 


10 


4 


10 


1 


9.2 


4 


1 


1 


4 


1 


3.7 


5 


9 


2 


4 


3 


4.0 


6 


9 


5 


8 


1 


8.6 


7 


10 


3 


10 


2 


3.5 


8 


9 


1 


c 


5 


6 Q 


9 


9 


4 


8 


2 


4.0 


10 


9 


5 


7 


3 


3.8 


11 


1 


4 


8 


4 


3.9 


12 


10 


1 


10 


3 


3.7 


13 


9 


3 


6 


2 


4.4 


14 


10 


4 


9 


1 


2.9 


15 


10 


4 


6 


3 


5.2 


16 


10 


2 


6 


3 


3,3 


17 


9 


5 


8 


3 


4.1 


IS 


6 


2 


5 


3 


3.4 


19 


10 


3 


10 


1 


1.9 


20 
21 


3 
8 


3 

4 


4 
6 


1 
2 


3-0 


22 
23 
24 
25 
26 
27 


10 
6 

7 
5 

10 
5 


4 
4 
3 

10 
10 
10 


6 

7 
6 
5 

2 
7 


1 
2 

5 
I 
1 


J' 

3-6 
4.9 

4.4 
4-2 
2-2 
5.3 


28 


6 


6 


8 


3 


3.9 


29 


1 


10 


10 


1 


4.0 


30 


10 


10 


10 


1 


4.4 


31 


9 


7 


7 


2 


3.9 


32 
33 


10 
6 


7 

9 


10 

8 



1 


6.0 
4.9 


34 


10 


9 


9 





8.2 


35 


8 


10 


7 


2 


5.2 


36 


9 


10 


8 


1 


5.0 


37 


10 


10 


10 





3.4 


38 

39 


10 

7 


7 
10 


6 
6 


1 
1 


5.0 
3.6 


40 


9 


8 


8 


1 


4.2 


41 


7 


7 


8 





5.1 


42 
43 


10 
10 


7 
10 


4 
10 


2 


■ 2 5 
3.7 


44 


6 


9 


7 


1 


3.7 


45 

46 


8 
10 


9 
8 


10 
5 


1 

1 


7.0 
3-1 
4.2 


47 


10 


10 


8 


1 


48 


8 


8 


6 

5G 


1 


4.3 



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Florida Department of Education. A resource manual for the development 
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

Tom Ball owe was born in 1947 in Paducah, Kentucky. He attended 
the Paducah public schools and graduated in 1965 from Paducah Tilghman 
High School . 

Mr. Ballowe received a bachelor of science degree in Physical 
Education and Psychology from Western Kentucky University in 1970. 
A major area of interest for Mr. Ballowe was college athletics; he 
participated in football, track, and gymnastics. Mr. Ballowe was 
awarded a Master's in Educational Psychology at the University of 
Florida in 1972. In 1977, he received an Educational Specialist's 
Degree in School Psychology. 

Mr. Ballowe has worked in a variety of settings with exceptional 
children, adolescents, and adults. He has taught in the public schools 
worked in a mental health center, served as a school psychologist, and 
directed an alternative school and counseling center. 

In 1976, Mr. Ballowe was wed to the former Debra Diann Turley in 
Cocoa Beach, Florida. The Ballowe's recently celebrated the birth of 
a lovely daughter named Jessie Kyle Ballowe. 

Mr. Ballowe has recently accepted a position as an assistant pro- 
fessor of special education at Winthrop College in Rock Hill, South 
Carolina. 

60 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it 
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully 
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy. 



(Ur 



Robert Algozzine, Chairman j 

Assistant Professor of Special Education 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it 
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully 
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy. 




Rex K Schmid 

Assistant Professor of Special Education 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it 
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully 
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy. 



kM^ILAk 



'Ul 



William B. Ware 

Professor of Foundations of Education 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it 
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully 
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy. 



C^M & 



'^.-r-d 



Cecil D. Mercer 

Associate Professor of Special Education 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it 
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully 
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy. 



flames e. Whorton ' . \ « 

Associate Professor of Special Education 



'As, 



This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the 
Department of Special Education in the College of Education and to the 
Graduate Council, and was accepted as parital fulfillment of the require- 
ments for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

August 1978 



/eiuuTlSLSfiffll 



liiiii"